The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Is the U.S. an Empire?

There has been much speculation about the fall of the Roman Empire. But, as the adage goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day" and it did not fall in a day either. It collapsed slowly over hundreds of years. Perhaps the fall, at least the onset... the first bit of crumbling, was imperceptible to the Romans and to its enemies.

What I think caused Rome's collapse was its hubris, its people's unwillingness to believe it could fall. This was the idea that Rome was eternal and that all other peoples were there to serve it. Not as slaves, per se, but by being willing to send tribute, to feed its hunger. Certainly, to rebel against Rome at its height was to invite destruction. And the barbarians who are seen as its destroyers wanted to be Roman, wanted to be a part of the empire. A contradiction, you think? Maybe.

We have, within the U.S., people who seek its destruction. I am sure they do not see themselves in this way but, nevertheless, that is their goal. They will say they want to change it... for the better, improve it, make it something that its ideals say it should be. I have heard such words many times, I even voiced them myself at one time. I was wrong. But, of course, I didn't think so at the time.

A nation, a society, is a delicate and complex thing. It is obviously complex but it does not appear, to its constituents, to be delicate. It seems strong... in our case, as the preeminent world power... that may be when it is most vulnerable.

I have said it only takes 10% of a population to begin a revolution. It may take even less to trigger a nation's downfall. That, I think, can be done by far less than 10%. Has America's downfall already been triggered by some obscure faction we are not yet aware of?

We won't know until the signs of its destruction are too obvious to ignore...or to stop.


Joanne Noragon said...

I see the army of domestic terrorists growing larger and larger. The ones who shoot up schools and movie theaters and probably will get a shoe bomb on a passenger plane or a printer bomb on a cargo plane some day. I wonder how great the mass of them must grow to reach a tipping point. And tip...

Douglas said...

Joanne, I do not see an army... I see individuals who snapped because of the pressures of life in the modern era. Maybe I am naive but armies have leaders who train and provide direction to their soldiers. These seem more like individual expressions of anger, frustration, and perceived helplessness.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

"Like the Days of Noah"
I think the extreme narcissism, excess hedonism, collective anarchy, collective faithlessness, the way no-one believes in anything anymore and how nothing is sacred, and the rewriting of history and legacies has pretty much sealed the world's fate---including that of the U.S..

T.C. said...

Army of terrorists? Statistics suggest otherwise.

Anyway, just finished reading a nice book exploring the history of Venice. I know we like to compare America to Rome (appropriately I reckon) but there are a lot of similarities with Venice and its empire. First among them, it was a business merchant society predicated on fierce individual liberty.